MILWAUKEE, April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Moms are heroes and this Mother's Day their acts of love will strengthen the fight against childhood cancer by raising research funds for life-saving cures. Starting today through May 13, Northwestern Mutual is rallying sons, daughters and those who want to honor their own "heroic" moms or mother figures by uploading images of them to Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook with the hashtag #MyHeroMom. For each social action (image upload, Facebook share and like, tweet and retweet) generated by consumers, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation will donate $5 to its nonprofit partner, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), up to $50,000 for childhood cancer research.

Ishani Sathianathan, 11, with her Hero Mom Dash Wallooppillai

Northwestern Mutual is initiating the program #MyHeroMom today with a $25,000 donation to ALSF.  In celebration of Mother's Day, people are encouraged to honor moms who have touched their lives and help to generate another $25,000. The full campaign donation of $50,000 will fund 1,000 hours of childhood cancer research.

Simply upload an image to Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook, with the hashtag #MyHeroMom.  Images should showcase how one values a mother figure in his/her life – whether a mom, daughter, aunt, sister or friend. For example, photos can depict a child and his or her mother figure or symbolic images of his or her mom as a hero. To learn more about #MyHeroMom, Northwestern Mutual created a one minute "how-to" video

"Childhood cancer touches thousands of moms every day and they are so brave in their heroic battle to take care of their kids," said John Kordsmeier, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "This Mother's Day program provides a simple, yet profound way for people to celebrate the positive impact their moms have in their lives while supporting innovative research to develop life-saving cures for kids."

As people take part in this effort, they will make an immediate impact on a critical issue. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.[i] and is vastly underfunded[ii].   More than 15,000 new cases of childhood cancer are expected to occur this year[iii] – that's thousands of moms who will be affected by childhood cancer.

Support of #MyHeroMom will provide hope for moms like Dash Wallooppillai of Texas who has supported her 11-year-old daughter, Ishani Sathianathan, as she bravely battled rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects connective tissues that normally should develop into skeletal muscles.

Dash rallied her family to stay strong when Ishani was diagnosed at age three and underwent numerous rounds of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and when she relapsed at age six. Today, Ishani's family is proud to announce that she is off treatment and in remission.

"I was amazed at my wife's ability to take charge when my daughter was diagnosed. She made sure our daughter was taken care of during the treatments during that critical time," said husband and dad, Kumar Sathianathan.  "Afterwards, she decided to promote childhood cancer awareness while being a super mom and a terrific wife."

#MyHeroMom is just one of the many ways Northwestern Mutual is committed to accelerating the search for cures to childhood cancers and to providing support to families battling the disease.  Since 2012, the Northwestern Mutual Childhood Cancer Program has supported more than 2,500 children and families and funded more than 26,000 research hours toward life-saving cures.

ALSF works directly with physicians, scientists and nurses to identify the specific challenges they face in bringing new treatments to children with cancer and develops grant opportunities to speed up the process of bringing the most promising and life-saving treatments to seriously ill children.

About Northwestern Mutual Foundation
The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given more than $250 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. We accomplish this by combining financial support, volunteerism, thought leadership and convening community partners to deliver the best outcomes. Our efforts are focused nationally on curing childhood cancer, and locally on education, neighborhoods and making our hometown of Milwaukee a great destination.

About Northwestern Mutual 
Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for nearly 160 years. Our financial representatives build relationships with clients through a distinctive planning approach that integrates risk management with wealth accumulation, preservation and distribution. With more than $217 billion in assets, $26 billion in revenues and more than $1.5 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.2 million people who rely on us for insurance and investment solutions, including life, disability and long-term care insurance; annuities; trust services; mutual funds; and investment advisory products and services.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

About Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $75 million toward fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 375 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.

[i] http://seer.cancer.gov/publications/childhood/
[ii] http://www.cancer.gov/researchandfunding/snapshots/pediatric
[iii] http://www.acco.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=gAi0ji8IFPU%3D&tabid=670

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140429/81917

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual